With Andrew Luck retiring from the NFL at the age of 29, the Indianapolis Colts are looking for the new franchise quarterback that will take them to the Promised Land. Fortunately, there is a figure on the roster that they trusted to lead the team back in 2017, and he will be asked to do so once again. Jacoby Brissett is now the top man in Indy, but who is he?
Originally a third-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the former North Carolina State quarterback actually spent the first year of his career with the New England Patriots. Considering that he was buried behind both Tom Brady and backup Jimmy Garoppolo, it was expected that Brissett would not see snaps during the regular season. However, a four-game suspension for Brady and an injury to Garoppolo pushed the rookie into the starting rotation.
Brissett appeared in three games to start his NFL career, two of which he started. The NC State product achieved a 2-1 record while passing for 400 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. This stretch included a 27-0 victory over the Houston Texans, a team that had been looking to capitalize against a young quarterback.
Jacoby Brissett with an absolute DIME to Eric Ebron 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/HwjBuweXXK— Pack Pride (@PackPride) August 17, 2019
Following that first season in New England, Brissett was traded to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for wide receiver Phillip Dorsett. This swap of talent occurred on Sept. 2 as the realization was sinking in that Andrew Luck may not be available all year due to a shoulder injury. Backup Scott Tolzien wasn't the obvious choice to lead the Colts through what was guaranteed to be a rough season, so head coach Chuck Pagano turned to Brissett despite having no time to learn the system.
Throughout the 2017 season, Brissett found ways to keep the offense moving as he completed 58.8 percent of his passes for 3,098 yards, 13 touchdowns, and seven interceptions. He also added another 260 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Unfortunately, the Colts finished the year with a 4-12 record, ending Pagano's tenure as head coach.
With Brissett possessing a losing record as a starting quarterback, why would the Colts feel confident that he could capably replace Andrew Luck and lead this team to the playoffs? Well, the first reason is that he is entering his third season with the team and is far more comfortable in the system. Additionally, Brissett actually had time to learn and prepare before taking the starting job instead of suiting up days after being sent halfway across the country.
Finally, Brissett is working with head coach Frank Reich, a man that won a Super Bowl as the offensive coordinator in Philadelphia. Reich is known as a brilliant play-caller that can make the most of his players and the situation. With more than a year working with Brissett, the Colts head coach has a solid grasp on what he can do well and what must be improved. He will put the young signal-caller in the best position to succeed, providing opportunities to rely on the talented skill position players such as T.Y. Hilton, Eric Ebron, and Parris Campbell.
Brissett may not have the "name-value" of the former first-round pick, but there is no reason he can't find success in the AFC South. The Colts have a strong defense, there are plenty of talented options on offense, and he is pairing with a top play-caller in Reich. The sky is not falling in Indianapolis.